FYS in Printmaking exhibition tickles attendees' fancy

On Tuesday, April 22, the Heimbold Visual Arts Center played host to Kris Philipps First-Year Studies Printmaking class exhibition. On display were the results of a years training in everything from computer generated artwork to masterfully crafted concerts of color that appeared in a mixture that both pleasantly mystified and delighted the crowds that came.

The Atrium was packed with many an excitable onlooker, curious as to what the students were capable of. The results were nothing short of an acid droppers delight.

In an exhibition space beneath the buildings first floor lay the results of these creative energies (with many a chocolate-coated pretzel to nibble on). Audiences were treated to a feast of unrestrained excellence in the visual arts.

Far from merely reproducing a tired set of clichéd pop art works that reeked of laziness, Philipps students went the extra mile in adding unmistakable personal touches to their work that made them all the more appreciable. Isabella Schnee 17 effortlessly blended intimate pictures of family holidays in Europe into her design scheme. Sasha Helinski 17 played around with human bones and terrifically merged their shapes with hexagons and splashes of color in her quest to make the pieces stand out. They somehow seamlessly connected sixties-era pop art with the graffiti of Queens and the symmetrical precision and perfection of the Perso-Mughal architectural style. To the audiences delight, the risk paid off. Sybone Tenenbaum 17 derived inspiration from a realm she knows well, the kitchen, where her fascination with melted cheese, alongside minimalist constructions in the drawing space, found themselves manifested in her fascinating depiction of a melting human being. In the words of one onlooker, Tenenbaums work tickled my fancy.

The myriad influences didnt end there. Many of the works on display were conspicuous in their depiction of urban landscapes as varied of those of Paris, Hong Kong, Toronto, and beyond. There was an array of titillating nudes, freewheeling in the playful expression of their curved bodily selves. In a telling reflection of the digital age we now live in, Philipps students incorporated a series of numbers and strings of code, normally commonplace on a software programmers screen, into their design schemes. Foxes, boarding passes, cacti, pyramids, arithmetic equations, puzzle pieces, QR codes, ice creams, and bubblegum-pink brains all jostled for space in the students weird and wonderful pieces. In between these diverse influences lay a bevy of textures and color-schemes, ranging from hand-drawn lines that moved as an artists hand does, to exacting strings of dot perfected to excruciating detail by way of the personal computer. A mixture of sans-serif and serif fonts, both archaic and modern, too found themselves entangled into the webs of creativity weaved by Phillips students. Quite the extravaganza.

What Phillips students brought to the table went beyond laudable exercises in creative expression. They brought a great deal of passion to their work—passion of the indelible kind that will always be embedded within their pieces. 

by Harshavardan Raghunandhan
hraghunandhan@gm.slc.edu

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Hina Jilani speaks at SLC's Re-Envisioning Pakistan Conference

1948 photograph of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

1948 photograph of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For better or worse, Pakistan today is a country that is near-constantly in the headlines. With 186 million people (the worlds sixth most populous country), an estimated 100 nuclear warheads, and in the backyard of a raging war between the United States, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the country today stands at a crossroads—its future a hotly contested matter of debate. It was fitting then, for Sarah Lawrence to play host to the Re-Envisioning Pakistan Conference, held between the 4th and 5th of April at the Heimbold Visual Arts Center. A lively debate environment characterized the conference. Panelists of differing ideological strands were locked in uncompromising verbal battles that lasted to the bitter end—each one bringing their own unique viewpoint to the table, further enriching our understanding of the country.

The panelists themselves were a diverse set. They ranged from doctoral candidates at the Universities of Texas-Austin and Syracuse, critically acclaimed journalists and academics, to the reputed jurist and human rights activist Hina Jilani, the conferences keynote speaker. The issues discussed ranged from the nature of class divisions and land holding patterns in the countrys rural areas to the status of sexual and religious minorities (specifically, the countrys beleaguered Ahmadiyya community), and the relationship between church (mosque, more specifically) and state. The conference also featured the screening of “The Other Half of Tomorrow, a documentary highlighting the efforts of womens empowerment groups in Pakistan. This was followed by a panel discussion with the documentarys director and producers.

Hina Jilani presented a keynote speech at the conference. Photo courtesy  re-envisioningpakistan.org

Hina Jilani presented a keynote speech at the conference.
Photo courtesy re-envisioningpakistan.org

 Ms. Jilani, founder of the countrys first womens legal aid society, and a member of the Elders (a group of retired world leaders who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building; members include President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa), took to the stage on Friday evening to deliver an impassioned address not just on the status of women and minority communities within the country, but on the status of the country itself. Turning the conference’s title on its head, she openly questioned whether Pakistan had been envisioned in the first place, at the time of the countrys creation in 1947 when India, then a British colony, was partitioned. In so doing, she took direct aim at the countrys founders, the Muslim League, for creating a vacuum within the state that was later filled by illiberal elements that have hindered the countrys democratic process. In highlighting the plight of religious minorities, she ironically observed that the country itself had been created on the basis of protecting the Indian Subcontinents Muslim minority, but had itself failed to protect its own religious minorities (Christians, Hindus, and others). She, nevertheless, offered a glimmer of hope for those who wish the country well by highlighting the successes of her movement and movements like hers in helping pass landmark legislative and legal reforms that have given many in the country a voice. Ultimately, these movements have served to protect vulnerable communities. By the end of her address, one thing was clear: for Pakistan to move beyond its current predicament, the country is in desperate need of leaders like her. It was no surprise then, that she received a unanimous standing ovation from those present in the audience.

 Re-Envisioning Pakistan provided an excellent opportunity for students at Sarah Lawrence to learn not only about one of the worlds most important countries, but one its most fascinating ones too. The students present in the audience were largely appreciative of proceedings, and came away with improved understandings of what is certainly a complex society. 

by Harshavardan Raghunandhan '17
hraghunandhan@gm.slc.edu

For more information on the conference and those who spoke there, please visit 
http://re-envisioningpakistan.org

 

 

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.